Friday, January 21, 2011

Child safety law blocked
Catholic officials block child safety law; Sex abuse victims respond

Statement by Becky Ianni, Virginia State leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. (703-801-6044,

Shame on Catholic bishops for continuing to block legislative reforms that will protect children.

Fewer than 10% of sex crimes against children ever get reported. Since 90% of the crimes aren't reported and the recidivism rate is so high, most predators find opportunities to abuse additional children, and most do so for decades.

Virginia lawmakers want to stop sex crimes against children. They introduced legislation that would better enable victims to report the crimes. This will help identify offenders and their complicit colleagues or supervisors. It will protect other children from the dangerous predators.

Currently sexual predators are able to get away with their crimes because of archaic, arbitrary, predator friendly statutes of limitation. We all know that most children aren't able to report their abuse until they are well into adulthood. By that time, the statutes of limitation have usually run out and predators walk free and hurt others.

It’s true that over time, memories fade, witnesses die and evidence is lost. That just makes it harder for victims to take action. It shouldn’t totally prevent them from having their day in court and being able to publicly expose dangerous child molesters.

Juries, not arbitrary time limits, should determine whether credibly accused child predators are found guilty, exposed, removed, and jailed.

We applaud Virginia lawmakers for trying to better protect kids. And we condemn Virginia’s Catholic bishops for putting their reputations, secrecy and convenience above the safety of children.

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